High hopes for Lions in national football final

NORTHERN NEW SOUTH WALES under-14 boys are geared up for the game of their lives at the Coffs Coast International Stadium today.

The Lions won through to the grand final of the Qantas National Youth Championships after disposing of Victoria Metro in yesterday's semi-final.

Goals in the 6th and 21st minutes had the home side sitting pretty at the break and while the southerners lifted the aggression level in the second period, they couldn't eat into the 2-0 advantage.

In a major surprise, Northern NSW will be opposed by FFA South Australia in the 11am final after the second-highest Group A qualifier caused the upset of the tournament, rolling the previously unbeaten NSW Metropolitan 3-2.

Northern NSW finished top of Group B. For local youngsters Josh Byrne and Sam Galloway, today's decider has become their big opportunity to come under the attention of the national selectors.

"The whole week has been about getting the skill levels up a notch and learning how to better put the challenge to your opponent as well as yourself," Josh said. "In every game we've made sure we are first to get to the ball and always on top controlling possession."

While the Nambucca Heads High School student likes to polish his game by dabbling in other sports like rugby league with the Nambucca Roosters, team mate Sam of Coffs High is totally focussed on the round ball game.

The Northern NSW under-15s played their final match yesterday after completing the series in fourth position of Group B.

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